Title: First & Then
Author: Emma Mills
Publication: October 13th 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 272 pages
Format: Library book
About the book:
Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.
Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.
So here’s the alphabetical run down:
Devon’s character didn’t really resonate with me at the beginning of the book. The first chapter really paints her as this high school girl with no real interests or aspirations for the future. But honestly, that’s much more realistic than people who have their life completely figured out at 17. She has such wit and charm and the dialogue is so well written that Mills pulls you in quickly. The broad spectrum of characters provides an interesting backdrop instead of falling into the typical high school stereotypes. From Devon’s quirky, socially awkward cousin Foster, to her spacey pregnant friend Marabelle, the cast of characters is varied and does not feel generic.
I think the cover is beautiful and I love the rainbow colored raindrops, but I’m not sure what, if anything, they have to do with the story. Each chapter has the raindrops around the chapter number as well, but I don’t feel like there was some overarching rain theme that I was missing. Still pretty, just not meaningful.
The romance in this book is just like a good realistic high school relationship should be written, there’s quite a bit of push and pull and miscommunication and general confusion for all involved. Devon isn’t completely sure of her feelings for either Cas or Ezra for the majority of the book, but it’s definitely not a traditional love triangle where the girl just has to choose between two boys who happen to both be in love with her. Also, Devon’s brother/sister love relationship with her cousin, Foster grows really authentically throughout the story and adds a lot of depth to the plot.
This book is a quick read, it’s under 300 pages and there’s nothing terribly complicated about it. Despite that fact, it does have heart and a good story and some really funny, witty dialogue. It’s an extremely enjoyable quick read if that’s what you’re looking for.
“As far as I was concerned, physical education was evil. You take a bunch of teenagers, make them strip down in front of each other in a locker room, have them don hideous matching uniforms, and then measure their worth based on their ability to chuck balls at a net, into a hoop, or at each other. It was just. Evil.”
He evaluated me for a moment and then said, “Get a ball.”
“Get it yourself,” I replied, because who did he think he was? Who did he think I was, for that matter – some football groupie eager to bask in his glory?
I feel like when I read this book, it was exactly what I was looking for. Just enough football (I LOVE football), just enough romance, and just enough pull at your heartstrings, but not so much that you can’t sleep after reading it. Overall, a quick read that still deserves four hearts.